Ambassador: Devika Malik , India
Devika co-founded Wheeling Happiness to promote inclusion and to advocate for better access to opportunities for people living with physical and mental disabilities. Wheeling Happiness has impacted more than 10,000 people through advocacy work, sports inclusion programmes and providing accessibility aids.
As an international para-athlete with eight national & three international medals, Devika and her team work to encourage people with disabilities to take up sports by connecting them with accessible facilities and providing sporting aids when necessary. People with disabilities have a difficult time finding sporting facilities or equipment that is inclusive, and so Wheeling Happiness has built a network of local providers and sports players who are willing to help. Almost 40 people have been introduced to the world of inclusive sport, with 500 accessibility items having been provided to people unable to fund their own specialist equipment.
Wheeling Happiness also works to facilitate greater societal change in India through outreach and advocacy programmes and consulting projects. Devika works with major corporate entities across India to advise them on inclusive hiring practices and customer service. One example of this is working with Indigo Airlines for over a year to train all ground staff and porters nationally on how to best interact with disabled passengers. This sensitivity training is crucial to ensuring that all passengers receive the same level of customer service, regardless of their disability or mobility issues. Wheeling Happiness also conducts accessibility audits for corporate offices to show businesses how to make spaces more inclusive for staff and customers.
After attending One Young World 2018 The Hague Summit, Devika’s foundation has started a campaign to educated people with disabilities about the Sustainable Development Goals. The Disability Awareness Outreach Program in Rural North India aims to acquaint over 5,000 rural people with disabilities with the SDGs as well as their rights and provisions as per the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act India 2016. The pilot workshop has already impacted 200 individuals.